Two people in charge of a portion of James Brown’s estate quit their positions Tuesday amid ongoing questions over the late soul singer’s finances.
The resignation of the trustees, who included a longtime adviser and close friend of Brown’s, was announced during a court hearing shortly after David Cannon, a former trustee, was held in contempt.
Administrators looking into the handling of Brown’s estate told the judge in September that Cannon, who stepped down as a trustee the month before, may have misappropriated up to $7 million.
Buddy Dallas, one of the trustees who resigned Tuesday, said the negative attention reflected poorly on Brown’s legacy and the resignations were in the best interest of the late singer.
“I certainly did not violate the trust of James Brown ever in my life, and to the contrary did everything I could do to promote the name and legacy status,” Dallas said. “I think it’s time to let some other people wear those shoes. I’ll be in the background.”
The other trustee, Alford Bradley, said he did so “to better serve the trust and the needy children that Mr. Brown wanted to be educated.” Brown’s trust was established to provide for poor children to go to school in Georgia and South Carolina.
Brown died last year in Atlanta on Christmas, throwing into turmoil the future of his trust, which is said to contain most of Brown’s primary assets, including music rights and his 60-acre Beech Island home in South Carolina. Their total value is still unclear.
The singer’s six adult children have been at odds with the trustees, claiming money has been mismanaged. And several people — including some claiming to be Brown’s unacknowledged children and at least two women who say they were married to him — have come forward wanting a piece of his estate.
On Tuesday, Cannon was held in contempt for failing to pay $373,000 to the estate. He also did not provide adequate financial records and failed to comply with an order to stop being a trustee by filing amendments to tax returns after stepping down, Judge Jack Early said.
Cannon did not speak and had no reaction when he was held in contempt. His stepson was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs after he protested a call to examine his mother’s finances.